Consummate performer and every singer’s vocal idol, Liane Carroll, sidles up to the piano, still in coat and scarf, and starts chatting and joking with her audience about the ‘Cassandra incident’ earlier in the week. She teases that no-one’s getting their money back tonight, because she’s here to sing and has a long list of numbers she wants to do for us. But it quickly becomes clear there is no list and the rest of her trio, Carroll’s husband Roger Carey on bass guitar and Enzo Zirilli on drums, must wait for her next intro before they know what tune she has in mind.
Arguably Carroll’s greatest gift is how she brings every shade of emotion into play; we alternately gasped (‘Caravan’ in a rapid 12/8), laughed (Tom Waits’ ‘Take Me Home You Silly Boy’), sang (Carol King’s ‘You’ve Got a Friend’) and cried (‘Here’s To Life’). She told stories, cracked bawdy jokes, interrupted herself mid-song with little asides, and shouted the odd instruction off-microphone to Roger and Enzo (“stretch it out at the end!”). Zirilli, for his part, kept a close watch for Liane changing the feel, tempo or even tune on the piano and, to his credit, seemed able to harness an almost telepathic relationship with the singer, matching his drum fills and textures in minute detail to the mood she was after. Carey plays bass guitar with an effortless dexterity, slapping and tickling the fat strings to produce some incredible solos, taking songs like ‘Green Dolphin Street’ into a whole new realm.
Among the devout fans that turn up to practically every gig she does (me among them from now on) were a slew of fresh converts struggling to comprehend just why it was they hadn’t seen her live before. Needless to say she quickly sold out of merchandise to these new acolytes, offering profuse apologies to the long line of people who left for home empty-handed. It’s that kind of regard for her audience, along with the preceding exquisiteness of her performance, that marks Carroll out as the passionate pro she most assuredly is.
– Sarah Chaplin
– Photos Tatiana Gorilovsky